Quest Diagnostics selling direct-to-consumer coronavirus antibody test

Author: CBS News

Quest Diagnostics is selling a direct-to-consumer antibody test that the company says will make it easy for people to check whether they may have been exposed to the coronavirus. After ordering the $119 test online, consumers must make an appointment at one of the 2,200 blood-draw centers Quest operates in the U.S.

Consumers can receive the results in one to two days after a blood draw, the company said in a statement. The test is designed to shed light on whether Americans have antibodies to the virus, although Quest notes that it’s unclear whether antibodies can provide protection against reinfection or how long any protection might last.

Even as Quest rolls out the service, scientists have raised questions about the accuracy of antibody tests. On Friday, the World Health Organization noted that “no study has evaluated whether the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 confers immunity to subsequent infection by this virus in humans.”

Still, it’s likely that many Americans will want to check whether they were exposed to the virus that’s caused a global pandemic and led to nearly 60,000 deaths in the U.S.

“Quest is making it easy for people to access quality testing for antibodies to the virus which causes COVID-19, with access to physician interpretation and steering into needed care,” said Jay Wohlgemuth, M.D., chief medical officer for Quest, in a statement.

Quest cautioned that the test isn’t intended for people who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. As a result, consumers who suspect they have active infections may not visit the Quest blood-draw locations, the company said in the statement. Instead, they are “strongly encouraged to contact their health care provider.”

People who have experienced symptoms of the disease shouldn’t schedule a blood draw until they’ve been symptom-free for at least 10 days. Customers must also wear a face mask and pass a contact-less temperature check to get the blood draw, it added.

First published on April 29, 2020 / 10:01 AM

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